Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Study Finds Sleep-deprived Teens are Three Times More Likely to Suffer from Depression

A new study out of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School finds that finds that sleep-deprived teens are three times more likely to suffer from depression than those who are getting a good night’s rest.

And sleep-deprived teens are common. The researchers discovered that more than half the high school seniors who participated in the study were “excessively sleepy” and likely to doze off in the middle of reading, watching television or even sitting in a traffic jam.

While the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends high school students get at least nine hours of sleep each night, these sleepy students reported getting an average of just six hours on school nights and 8 hours on weekends. Among the students studied, 30% had strong symptoms of depression while an additional 32% had some symptoms.

Sleep-deprived high school students who doze off in class aren't just risking the wrath of their teachers. They're also three times more likely to be depressed than their alert classmates who get enough sleep, a new study has found.
"Sleep deprivation and depression go hand in hand among teenagers," says the study's lead author, Mahmood Siddique, D.O., a sleep medicine specialist at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. "Instead of giving them medications, I'd rather give them a chance to sleep better, and more."

High school seniors with excessive daytime sleepiness have an elevated risk for depression, suggests a research abstract that will be presented Wednesday, June 9, 2010, in San Antonio, Texas, at SLEEP 2010, the 24th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC.

Results indicate that high school seniors were three times more likely to have strong depression symptoms (odds ratio = 3.04) if they had excessive daytime sleepiness. Fifty-two percent of participants (136 students) had excessive daytime sleepiness, 30 percent (80 students) had strong depression symptoms and 32 percent (82 students) had some symptoms of depression.